Live Nation has been downgraded in the S&P Global ratings system amid ongoing pandemic-induced struggles. The entertainment titan was hit with a negative financial outlook when S&P Global changed its B+ credit rating to a BB- citing a risk of “dramatic revenue declines” amid the global crisis.
“We … believe there is substantial risk that delayed live music event scheduling and poor event attendance could cause credit metrics to remain weak with leverage above 6x and free operating cash flow to debt around 5 percent over the next two years,” S&P Global analysts said in an investors note, via The Hollywood Reporter.
Live Nation has been dealt an unprecedented blow with much of the live events industry halted or shifting towards unconventional methods, such as reduced capacity shows or drive-in concerts. This directly impacted the company’s first quarter earnings, which showed a 21 percent decline in revenue. Live Nation’s second quarter is expected to be grim as the pandemic continues to impact live shows.
“Currently, most of the company’s events previously scheduled to happen over the next few months have been postponed and could be rescheduled to later dates in the second half of 2020 or into 2021, depending on when the pandemic risk lessens. Some music events have been canceled outright, although these cases remain a minority,” S&P Global added.
“As a result of these scheduling uncertainties and our expectation that social distancing restrictions will extend throughout the summer, the busiest season for live music events, we believe Live Nation revenues could decline by 65 percent to 80 percent in 2020 before rebounding significantly in 2021 as live events and attendance return.”
To prepare itself for the financial impacts of the pandemic over the coming months, Live Nation upped its total liquidity by way of opening a $120 million revolving credit account, amending its existing credit agreement and rolling out cost-cutting measures said to save the company $500 million.